Last Saturday I spent the day visiting an interesting place. I had heard about it a while ago, just by chance while browsing the National Trust website. Its called Orford Ness, in Suffolk. There is a pretty little village there, with a castle, various pubs and tea rooms. And then, across a short distance, this island that was used during various periods of time as a test base for weapon and other military gadgets development, some of them as important as the radar whicht gave England a huge advantage over Germany during the Second World War.
They also built some intriguing structures, called the pagodas, used for testing atomic weapons. Apparently, not nuclear explosions involved. They did that in Australia. But some vibration tests and launching bombs from planes, was the usual stuff there for quite a lot of time. As I was walking around the place, it came to my mind, in this idyllic and peaceful place, how was felt that some miles away, big explosives were been detonated regularly, German planes destroyed (on floor tests) or atomic weapons (without their nuclear charge, apparently) where shaken for the sake of science (and military advantage, of course). Quite possibly only a few people in the village knew at that time what was really happening.
I found this place completely fascinating. A mix between a desert and a forbidden zone, like the one described in Stalker. Abandoned buildings and structures. Weird landscape. Cloudy weather, as usual. That’s what I need to get out home and try to shoot some pictures. Not all the areas are open to the public.There are colour coded routes. Last Saturday I had to follow the red one. The pagodas are not accessible unless you book a guided tour in advance. One of the labs is open and is a creepy example of a derelict structure taken by nature. Because that is all what remains of this place, once so important and at the same time so mysterious. Now its just a natural reserve, and a place for tourists to spend a Saturday. Here is an old documentary from the BBC, split in some parts. Image quality is not very good, but is interesting nonetheless.
Apparently, there are also UFO sightings. It doesn’t surprise me at all. :P
Here we are, end of March. And its freezing cold, at least from my point of view, in the UK. Yesterday I talked with my family in Spain and they said it was almost like summer. How I miss that. A moment ago I could see through the big windows in my small studio how it started hailing. And moments after that sudden storm, sunshine. Crazy weather. Also at the end of March, some years ago, I took this picture in a park nearby my place Madrid. My interest for taking pictures had just started. The image itself may not be the best one, but while I was browsing today old pictures in my flickr account, deleting some old ones I don’t want to see again, I found it, and I thought these colours mean spring more that the grey view I have from my window now. Oh, it has changed again!
A small gallery of pictures I took in Dunwich Heath, in Suffolk coast, a while ago. As usually happens, the weather wasn’t very nice. I yet have to visit one of this coast places with good weather. Maybe in Summer? One thing that caught me by surprise was the Sizewell nuclear power station. I had no idea it was there. There is something about nuclear plants that doesn’t make me feel good. I know, they are efficient, cleaner in the long-term than other means of energy production, etc. But nuclear waste is still an issue and when one of this things goes nuts, the damage is immense, in size and time. Just take a look at recent examples like Chernobyl and Fukushima. I joked with a colleague at work about my fear of swimming in that place, not because of the cold, but the power station proximity. The guy told me he did fish there! His point was that the water around the plant is of the most pure quality you can find.
Here is my entry for this week’s photo challenge, taken in Lisbon a while ago. Hard to believe it was December. I really like this city, and its bridge. If someone tells me to go back there, I will… ;-)
Ok, gardening. In the long list of things that I have no idea about, gardening is one of them. And here in the UK is a very appreciated thing. Houses have a garden, and even if you live in a flat, in a big city like London, you may know someone with access to an allotment. It’s also the case that I’m not very fan of plants, at least taking care of them. I remember once someone at my office told me to take care of a tomato plant during her holidays. The tomato survived, but I can say now that it wasn’t because of my efforts. I just completely forgot about it! That tomato plant was a really strong one I think. So maybe its a combination of both things, the attention given to gardening here, and my total lack of interest on it, what makes me, still today, find all this gardening stuff a bit funny. I enjoy visiting them though, as some pictures in this blog can show. I took the ones in this post quite a while ago, in the garden of my previous place. And I don’t miss that garden… At all.
A new gallery of pictures from my trip, almost a year now, to Utah. This day was fun. I had never been in such a desolate place. You see this places usually in films or documentaries, and you never think about them as real. But yes, here we were, driving miles in mostly straight line roads, without a tree in sight (or anything else). Just some other cars . And mountains in horizon. There was a petrol station in the middle of nowhere, where we refused to have lunch. It looked like a place from some other horror film. And the famous Bonneville salt flats. At this time of the year there was water on it, not totally evaporated. It is when the flat is totally dry when it is used for car races and tests. I had already posted some pictures from there. This ones give, I think, a bit more context of the place and its surroundings. Its also fun, but somehow, I miss Utah.
Here are some pictures I took a while ago in Blakeney. It’s an interesting place. Norfolk coast is becoming my favourite spot for one day trips, photography and proper pub lunches. Its been a while since my last trip there, I should think about going again soon. Or better yet, when the weather becomes warmer. The excuse for this one was the seals. There is a small colony of them and you can hire a boat trip that brings you where the seals are. To me, the nicest part was the short boat trip. Also the flat landscapes around. The seals, well. They just seemed very few to me. Maybe it is just a special thing to actually have any in that place, but I was expecting something more crowded. The poor animals didn’t seem to care about humans in a boat, of course. I had a similar feeling to when I visit a zoo. I have no idea about what happened to the stranded boat. Some time ago there was a big tidal surge in the area. The same one that broke that solitary sand dune in two parts. Maybe that boat has its own story. A storm was forming at the end of the day, so we came back to Cambridge.
Another two paired pictures. These white trees are in the Anglesey Abbey’s Winter Garden. I’m finding that I visit quite often this place. It’s very close to Cambridge. The gardens are great for long walks. And I always find something that grabs my attention. The National Trust membership is proving to be worth it.
Today is my birthday. I remember that in last year’s post I joked about having a red sports car as a gift. This year this is what I want. I took this picture in Portugal last summer. It’s possibly one of the best beaches in the Algarve region.
P.S. And I still haven’t got my red sports car… :P
Last day of 2014. Its been a difficult year for me. And for lots of other people. Yesterday I was walking in Cambridge, in a cold but sunny day, thinking about what exactly attached me to this place. Not only me, but some people I know has asked me the same question recently. And to be honest, some days I don’t know. Others, like yesterday, I think there is still potential. Cambridge in sunny days is beautiful. There are things I still love, and future things I will love, I’m sure. Today I really would like to forget 2014. Facebook’s clumsy attempt on making memorable posts for the year was not very welcome in my case either. At the same time, I know today there will be people in far worse situations. And people helping out instead of partying till late. And that puts things in perspective and makes me think that I shouldn’t worry so much. So, I truly wish 2015 to be a great year for everyone. It must be. That’s my only new year’s resolution. :)
There must be millions of pictures of this place already. But I wanted to visit it since I was a child. You know, when I was a child I was a firmly believer in UFOs, paranormal activities, conspiracy theories. You name it. Stonehenge was the subject of a lot of books and documentaries I read and watched as I child. I really was into it. Most of the reasoning behind the mystery was, we don’t know how they could raise those blocks of stone, so it was made by aliens. As usual, covering our ignorance with a magical answer is the easiest way of dealing with this things. At some point, possibly during my teenager years, after having some really good physics and philosophy teachers at school, possibly after some vital experiences, my interest on these things vanished. But when I came to the UK almost five years ago, I though.. I need to visit that place.
To be honest, it’s been a bit of a disappointment. The place to me, doesn’t have that aura of magic some people want to believe in. It’s full of tourists (myself included). You cannot walk into the circle of stones, I imagine there is a real danger of people deteriorating the monument. Yesterday they were preparing celebrations for the winter solstice and I’m sure today it will be full of people dressed as druids (which have nothing to do with Stonehenge origins and its possible uses when it was built). One thing I liked thought, was the weather. It was cloudy, perfect for some contrasty black and white processing. Also, the exhibitions in the new visitors centre were interesting and fascinating enough, without the need of aliens. At least, I managed to fulfill one of my childhood dreams, a very simple one. Here, some news about the celebrations today. I told you, didn’t I?
And after a post about my birthplace, this picture, taken in Granchester, near Cambridge. I tried a black and white process for this one, but the theme is already dark enough, so I went for some colour. Not very sure about the composition though. What do you think?